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Helpless Before The Iron In Olsen's "I Stand Here Ironing"

Beginning of paper
In Tillie Olsen's "I Stand Here Ironing," the narrator seeks, through language and memory, to construct her past, to make meaning from and come to terms with her life in an effort to "total it all", and to gain a better understanding of her actions as a mother. While the mother is standing in fro ....

Middle of paper
.... swolleness, I waited to the clock decreed," she shows the lack of knowledge the mother had in caring for a newborn because she ignores her maternal instincts and instead chooses to go by the book (p. 169). With just one line in the story, this statement packs powerful reasoning into the mother's helplessness, showing how her immaturity and lack of knowledge is working against her and to no fault of her own. Closely related is the narrator's single status in a time of male dominance and no c ....

Word count: 655
Page count: 3 (approximately 250 words per page)

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